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Title: Structural design and the use of reinforced concrete for wave energy converters
Author: Barker Ewart, Leah Victoria Katie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 2053
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2019
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Structural design aspects and material selection choices for Wave Energy Converters (WECs) have a large impact on capital expenditure and life-cycle operating costs. The aim of this thesis is to consider the governing design issues and material selection choices in the early design stages in order to improve lifecycle cost. The work was carried out in close collaboration with Albatern and the thesis will draw on the WaveNET array as a case study. The WaveNET array is a novel multi-body floating array system, harnessing power through the relative motion of buoyant Node elements, and rigid Link elements, which are connected via an articulated Joint Module. The thesis reviews the concept design process and develops methods for assessing the trade-off between maximising power production, and minimising structural loading over the lifetime of the structure to optimise LCoE. Concept assessment methods are developed with the aid of structural load data from physical and numerical models. Developing these methods at an early stage in the design process ensures that potential structural issues are highlighted when it is still easy to make design changes. This work also investigates the potential for reinforced concrete materials to reduce construction costs for floating WECs, by carrying out design tasks related to the Node structure within the array. A techno-economic feasibility study shows that reinforced concrete provides excellent mechanical properties at a low unit cost. It highlights potential benefits of advanced concrete mixes, particularly for devices with weight and buoyancy restrictions which push conventional concrete design to its limits. The behaviour of critical steel-concrete connections, which need to transmit highly dynamic loads about multiple axes, is also assessed. High-level analysis work of commonly used connections is carried out using FEA models, with particular emphasis on the fatigue behaviour, in order to identify appropriate connection techniques. The main contributions of this thesis are: • a comparison of fatigue analysis methods for floating WECs; • the advancement of knowledge regarding the application of conventional and advanced concrete materials for floating WECs; • the advancement of knowledge regarding the behaviour of steel-concrete connections for floating WECs.
Supervisor: Stratford, Timothy ; Ingram, David ; Thies, Philipp Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Wave Energy Converters ; WECs ; life-cycle operating costs ; Albatern ; WaveNET array ; concept design process ; maximising power production ; minimising structural loading ; reinforced concrete ; buoyancy restrictions ; steel-concrete connections ; fatigue behaviour